The Breitling Navitimer is one of those iconic watches that doesn’t need any introduction. While you might not know this watch from its famous, and very handy, slide-rule bezel, you might know it from being one of the entry level chronographs in the range, a position that the Navitimer has held since its introduction in 1952. The Navitimer hasn’t changed much since, at least not in terms of design. But underneath a lot has changed. The Navitimer is powered these days by Breitling’s manufacture caliber B01. This modern chronograph movement sports a column-wheel and vertical clutch, next to a smooth balance wheel and flat hairspring. Unique to this caliber is the patented adjustment system for the chronograph hammers and a date that can be re-set at any time, even close to midnight. Perhaps not unique but quite pleasant is the comfortable power reserve of 70 hours.
Over the years the Navitimer has been available with a few different dial colors. A palette to which Breitling now adds a bronze colored dial for their Navitimer 01 Panamerican, which is limited to 1,000 pieces. It is still surprising what different colors can do to a watch. Like new clothes that can transform a person, a new dial color can transform a watch. The bronze color is applied in a satin sunburst, which contrasts nicely with the cream white subdials and slide-rule bezel. It’s pity that Breitling didn’t opt for a date wheel in cream white, but used one in white instead. A little detail, but a difference that would have made the watch come together even better.
The combination of bronze and cream white also give the watch a bit of a nostalgic feel, one that is amplified by the tri-compax dial layout which is part of the Navitimer’s signature. With limited editions like this, where the dial color and some additional engravings are the only things that set it apart from it’s non-limited siblings, it is always the case that a different color dial really gives you a different watch. With the Navitimer Panamerican this is indeed the case, since it has changed the Navitimer out of its usual jeans and black leather pilot jacket, into a linen suit with Panama hat. Okay, it still likes jeans, as long as you change your black leather pilot jacket for a brown one.
Breitling offers the watch on a bracelet, a perfect choice for the better part of North America. But when combined with a brown alligator, or a distressed aviator strap the watch really becomes Pan-American, as suitable to walk the streets of Rio de Janeiro, as it is to remind you of when it is cocktail time while you turn being lazy into an art-form in a hammock in the Caribbean.
Eclectic taste in Haute Horlogerie, passion for diamond set watches, loves the classics